Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure on Wednesday in the wake of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE warning about meddling attempts during his public testimony before congressional lawmakers.  

Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that would require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission about foreign offers of assistance, as well as a bill to let the Senate Sergeant at Arms offer voluntary cyber assistance for personal devices and accounts of senators and staff. 

But Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) blocked each of the bills. She didn't give reason for her objections, or say if she was objecting on behalf of herself or the Senate GOP caucus. 

Hyde-Smith, in a tweet on Thursday, accused Democrats of trying to pass "partisan" bills that had previously been blocked on the Senate floor. 

"Senate Democrats try to push partisan election bills without going through regular order right after the House hearings w/Mueller. Coincidence? Nope. Just more political theater instead of working together to secure US elections," she tweeted

ADVERTISEMENT

Under Senate rules, any one senator can ask for consent to pass a bill, but any one senator is able to object. 

The floor drama comes after Mueller warned about election interference during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, saying Russia was laying the groundwork to interfere in the 2020 election "as we sit here."

“We are expecting them to do it again during the next campaign,” Mueller said.

But election interference bills face an uphill climb in the Senate, where Republicans aren't expected to move legislation through the Rules Committee, the panel with primary jurisdiction, and have warned about attempts to "federalize" elections. 

Democrats cited Mueller as they tried to get consent on Wednesday evening to pass their bills. 

"Mr. Mueller's testimony should serve as a warning to every member of this body about what could happen in 2020, literally in our next elections," said Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFBI director casts doubt on concerns over mail-in voting fraud Democrats call for declassifying election threats after briefing by Trump officials It's time to upgrade benefits MORE (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

He added that "unfortunately, in the nearly three years since we uncovered Russia's attack on our democracy, this body has not held a single vote on stand-alone legislation to protect our elections." 

Warner tried to get consent to pass the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act by unanimous consent. Under Warner's bill, campaign officials would have to report contacts with foreign nationals who are trying to make campaign donations or coordinate with the campaign to the Federal Election Commission, which would in turn notify the FBI.

"If a foreign adversary tries to offer assistance to your campaign, your response should not be 'thank you.' Your response should be a moral obligation to tell the FBI," he said. 

But Hyde-Smith objected to passing his legislation. Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnNetflix distances from author's comments about Muslim Uyghurs but defends project Hillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns Key Democrat opposes GOP Section 230 subpoena for Facebook, Twitter, Google MORE (R-Tenn.) similarly blocked the legislation in June, arguing that it was overly broad.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tried to get consent to pass similar legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers.

"It differs in some technical aspects [from the Warner bill] … but it is the same idea because it codifies into law what is already a moral duty, a patriotic duty and basic common sense," Blumenthal said.

Hyde-Smith also objected to Blumenthal's bill.

She objected a third time when Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Democratic senators ask inspector general to investigate IRS use of location tracking service MORE (D-Ore.) tried to get consent to pass legislation he crafted with Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump stokes fears over November election outcome The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' MORE (R-Ark.) that would allow the Senate Sergeant at Arms to provide voluntary cybersecurity assistance for personal accounts and devices of senators and staff.

"I don't see how anyone can consider what I have proposed to be a partisan issue," Wyden said. 

This story was updated on July 25 at 5:48 p.m.